There's something about Gravity! The action-packed sci-fi flick starring a slim, strong, and sexy Sandra Bullock blasted off a record-breaking $55.6 million at the box office opening weekend, riveting audiences everywhere with its crazy realistic representation of outer space.
Another thing that has audiences buzzing: Bullock’s super-fit bod underneath that space suit! Being in amazing shape was essentially a prerequisite for her role in order to pull off the grueling wirework required to mimic movements in zero gravity. "I pushed my body to the extreme. Strength-wise, I had to know I could do anything [the director] asked of me at any given point, so not a day went by that we didn’t train," the 49-year-old actress said during a news conference at the Venice Film Festival.
To create a realistic portrayal of floating through space, filmmakers created a custom 12-wire rig that was strapped to the actors with a harness, while puppeteers moved their arms and legs via the wires. "Being in a harness on a wire is an amazing amount of core work. You use only the balance of your body to keep yourself straight and upright, so there is a lot of muscle and demand on your body and entire core," says stunt coordinator Franklin Hanson. "Sandra was in [the harness] for over an hour at a time without resting. Some of the stunt girls were resting every 20 minutes, but she was up there forever without needing to stop. She’s incredibly athletic."
So how did the former high school gymnast and cheerleader prepare for the incredibly intense role? There was a whole lot of movin’ and shakin’ involved! Bullock did endless dance training with her go-to fitness guru Simone de la Rue, and it didn’t stop once they started filming. "We had long periods between shots for set-up and lighting, so Sandra would always pop back to her trailer and do dance workouts for an hour or so, a few times a day," Henson says.
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According to Bullock’s stunt doubles Juliette Cheveley and Stephanie Carey, that type of dance training was necessary to portray such an ambitious astronaut character. "Dance is a powerful discipline that requires core strength and greatly improves balance, coordination, suppleness, and finely tones all muscle groups… The dance training in Sandra’s workouts gave her good body control to perform the zero-g work seemingly effortlessly. It helped her add fluidity and reality to the situation," Cheveley says.
"Because Sandra was so fit, she could hold herself really well in some of the most difficult positions," Carey adds. "Zero gravity is really not an easy thing to pull off convincingly. The strain would often show in our faces."
Bullock's training sessions with De La Rue obviously paid off (No wonder regulars at the Aussie's New York City studio rave about her high-energy cardio classes!). It costs big bucks for a private sesh with De La Rue, but click here for the former dancer’s total-body toning plan and get the red-carpet treatment for free.
And don’t forget to check out Gravity, currently in theatres nationwide!